Evidence of meeting #89 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was right.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Olivier Champagne  Legislative Clerk, House of Commons
Paula Brand  Director General, Sustainability Directorate, Strategic Policy Branch, Department of the Environment
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Thomas Bigelow

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

It was for the whole amendment. You don't get to subdivide your amendment into five different votes.

9:15 a.m.

An hon. member

No.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Linda, we just voted on it. There is no acceptance around the table for it.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Okay.

I don't know why we bother having meetings.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Chair, at least let her have her voice so that she can't come back later and say she didn't get a chance to—

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

The problem I have—and this is up to the committee—is that we just voted on it. If we want to go back—

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

You need unanimous consent.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

—I need unanimous consent.

Do I have unanimous consent to...?

Linda, what do you want to do?

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Well, this was why I asked earlier how we were going to do it. Are we going to go through each piece of it, or are we going to do the whole?

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I was doing each amendment that's....

We're in different levels here, okay? I was doing the clauses and the amendments that are brought forward for the clauses, and I was leaving it up to the person who was speaking to basically make it clear how they were presenting their amendments.

If you were doing each piece, I was not aware of that. My apologies.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Okay.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I think you have a sense of where everybody is, but if you want to—

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

It's all right. We'll just move on. I suspect that none of these will be successful, but I have put them forward—

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Well, let's not jump; let's keep giving the chance to hear everybody and make sure we're comfortable with moving forward.

We are moving forward now: shall clause 3 as amended carry?

Does everybody know what we're doing? One amendment, LIB-1, has been accepted.

(Clause 3 as amended agreed to)

Nothing has come forward for clause 4, but let me just make sure. Nobody has anything for clause 4? Great.

(Clause 4 agreed to)

(On clause 5)

We have several amendments. We will start with NDP-3.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

The reason I have brought forward this amendment to line 17 on page 4 is that under “Mandate” right now, the provision for the advisory council is that they can only advise the minister on matters that she asks them to advise her on. I am of the view that it is too narrow, unless others of my amendments are accepted. This is the only provision in the entire act that makes any provision whatsoever for consultation.

If the consultation is going to be limited simply to this hand-picked advisory group that the minister appoints, it would be advisable to broaden the scope to add, “including matters referred to it”. That allows them to suggest to her, from time to time, matters that they want to pursue or that she might want to consider.

We took a look at other advisory committees. Under the Species at Risk Act, for example, it isn't limited to just what the minister asks them to advise her on; it's wide open. It just simply says, “advise the Minister on the administration of this act”. They don't have to wait for the minister to say, “I want you to look into this.” It's the same with the Agricultural and Rural Development Act and other acts in which advisory bodies are appointed.

I'm simply giving them a little wider ambit when they come together or they choose to come together.

It's a wide diversity of people. The minister bent over backwards to have more indigenous people. In fact, when the minister introduced the bill, she said, “Indigenous peoples, communities, provinces, territories, and Canadians expect to be heard when it comes to the economy and the environment” and that the government wants to maintain an ongoing conversation.

That's why I've suggested adding that in. Obviously, how much they can communicate will be limited, because the Conservatives are proposing limiting the reimbursement.

I thought it was very important to leave that open. She probably wasn't intentionally trying to limit them, but the way the wording is right now, they would not be mandated to consider anything except what the minister refers to them.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay.

Paula Brand would like to make a clarification for us.

December 7th, 2017 / 9:20 a.m.

Director General, Sustainability Directorate, Strategic Policy Branch, Department of the Environment

Paula Brand

Yes. Maybe I could to draw to members' attention that this is an amendment in the bill. In the act, though, we are not changing anything that continues to require the ongoing consultations that do exist in the act.

I would draw folks' attention to subsections 9(3) and 9(4) of the act itself, which are not being touched in this bill, where it says that the minister shall undertake consultations and submit a draft strategy to the sustainable development advisory council, as you've said, the appropriate committee of each House of Parliament, and the public for review and comment. Subsection 9(4) also requires that she submit it to the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development for a period of not less than 120 days.

There is a four-month consultation period in the act that is untouched by the bill. Just to clarify for members, that part is staying the same. No change is made to that.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

That's very helpful. Thank you.

Go ahead, Mr. Fisher.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Thank you, Madam Chair.

On this side, we don't support the amendment. Bill C-57 gives a clear mandate for the advisory committee. This would add cost. Also, as Ms. Brand said, within the act itself there's already fairly wide consultation that we're not amending.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Do you guys have anything you want to say? Okay. You agree.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

All they will be able to consult on is the draft FSDS. That's what subsection 9(3) provides.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

No, it's anything that the minister advises them to consult with or on.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Yes.

9:20 a.m.

An hon. member

It isn't a free-for-all.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Okay.